Cornelia Margaret Foster, better known as “Nina,” was born on 19 March 1848 in Bangor, Maine to John Burt and Catherine (McGaw) Foster. She was the second daughter and three years younger than her sister, Mary Katharine.
Nina was living with her family in Bangor in both the 1860 and 1870 censuses. She married Thomas Lawrence Riggs on 26 December 1872 in Bangor.
Thomas Lawrence Riggs was born into a missionary family in Lac qui Parle Mission in Minnesota Territory on 3 June 1847. His parents were Stephen Return and Mary Ann Clark (Longley) Riggs, missionaries among the Sioux Indians.
After Thomas and Nina were married they went to Dakota territory, where they established the Oahe Mission near Fort Sully on the east bank of the Missouri River.
Theodore Foster Riggs was born to Thomas and Nina on 7 July 1874 at Hope Station near Fort Sully, Dakota Territory.
Four years later, Nina died in childbirth on 5 August 1878 in Peoria Bottom, Dakota Territory. She was buried next to the house at Oahe in a small family cemetery. The cemetery was covered over with water when the Oahe Dam reservoir was filled.
Thomas and Nina had the following child:
- Theodore Foster Riggs was born on 7 July 1874 near Fort Sully, Dakota Territory. He died 30 May 1962.
Thomas married Margaret Louisa Irvine on 31 March 1885. She was the daughter of Major Javan B. And Margaret Louisa (Halsted) Irvine. She was born on April 1859 in St. Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota.
Thomas died on 6 July 1940 in Oahe, Hughes, South Dakota. He was buried in the family enclosure at Oahe. Margaret Louisa died on 25 August 1951 in Oahe, Hughes, South Dakota. She was also buried in the family enclosure.
Thomas and Margaret had the following children:
- Cornelia Margaret Riggs was born 11 March 1886 and died 8 August 1886 in Oahe, Hughes, Dakota Territory.
- Robert Irvine Riggs was born on 8 September 1887 in Dakota Territory and he died on 22 November 1975 in Tucson, Pima, Arizona.
- Lawrence Howard Riggs was born 16 July 1889 at Oahe, Hughes, South Dakota and he died 19 May 1988 in Sioux Falls, Minnehaha, South Dakota.
- Muriel Riggs was born 26 July 1892 in Oahe, Hughes, South Dakota and she died on 16 June 1901 in Oahe, Hughes, South Dakota.
A monograph written by Stephen Return Riggs about Mrs. Nina Foster Riggs.
For more information about Thomas Lawrence Riggs and his life, see Sunset to Sunset by Thomas Lawrence Riggs and Margaret Kellogg Howard.
For more information about the Oahe Mission see Apostles on the Plains, by Roger Holtzman. South Dakota Magazine at http://www.southdakotamagazine.com/apostles-on-the-plains.
Frederick Clifton Pierce, Foster Genealogy (Chicago, Illinois: Press of W.B. Conkey Company, 1899), p. 809.
U.S. federal census. Year: 1860; Location: Bangor, Penobscot, Maine; p. 53.
U.S. federal census. Year: 1870; Location: Bangor, Penobscot, Maine; p. 158.
Maine Marriages, 1771-1907, database, FamilySearch.org (http://familysearch.org). Bangor, Penobscot, Maine, FHL film no. 11,950. Thomas Lawrence Riggs/Cornelia Margaret Foster, marriage.
Thomas Lawrence Riggs and Margaret Kellogg Howard, Sunset to Sunset: A Lifetime with My Brothers, the Dakotas (Pierre, South Dakota: South Dakota State Historical Society Press, 1997.)
Stephen Return Riggs, D.D., L.L.D., Mary and I: Forty Years with the Sioux (Boston, Massachusetts: Congregational Sunday-school and Publishing Society, 1887.) Digital images. Internet Archive. Https://archive.org: 2006.
Cornelia Margaret “Nina” Foster Riggs, Memorial #119317436, database and images online. Find-A-Grave.com.
Thomas Lawrence Riggs, Memorial #119317084, database and images online. Find-A-Grave.com.
Margaret Louisa Irvine Riggs, Memorial #119318174, database and images online. Find-A-Grave.com.
Photos of Oahe Mission. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA, http://loc.gov.